Al Karama book their place

The Syrians get the point they need to progress to the quarter finals.

    Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya's Mokhalad al-Bu Muttair, left, 
    battles with Al Kuwait's Khaled al-Azemi [AFP]
    Al Karama claimed the next-to-last berth in the Asian Champions League quarterfinals, clinching the spot with a 0-0 draw with Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia.

    Only one place in the final eight remains undetermined, that from Group E between Adelaide United and Changchun Yatai.

    The two meet Thursday to complete the field.

    With a crowd of 20,000 at the al-Baladi Stadium in Homs province in central Syria, Al Karama started with a lot of momentum, but wasted several chances.

    The Syrians dominated the second half, again failing for finish numerous opportunities.

    Syrian Mohammad al-Hamwi shot wide in the 55th minute and teammate Mouhanad Ibrahim hit the crossbar in the 86th minute.

    Al Karama finished atop Group C with 11 points, two ahead of second-placed Al Wahda of the United Arab Emirates, which wasted its chance to overtake the Syrian side when it drew 0-0 at Qatar's Al Sadd in their final group match.

    Trailing the Syrian side 4-2 on aggregate from their two meetings, Al Wahda needed a victory over Al Sadd and for Al Ahli to beat Al Karama.

    Al Sadd's striker Ali Afef produced a snap-header off a corner kick in the fifth minute, but the ball went narrowly wide.

    Al Wahda's Brazilian Luciano had the best chances, shooting high from close range in the 24th, hitting the crossbar with a free kick a minute before halftime and sending another free kick off the post in the 66th.

    Weakened Saipa still prevail

    In Dubai, Issa Traore scored midway through the first half and Saipa drew 1-1 with Al Wasl, confirming the Iranian club's place in the Asian Champions League quarterfinals.

    With its place already secure before the match, Saipa restes several of its key players but still finished with 12 points atop Group B, four ahead of Al Quwa Al Jawiya of Iraq, which beat Al Kuwait 2-1 in its final match.

    Traore outpaced the defence and lobbed advancing Wasl goalkeeper Majed Naser Maqdami to score.

    Al Wasl equalised when Brazilian striker Andre Dias scored in injury time.

    Saipa could have added a second goal in the 51st minute when Saipa's forward Karim Ansari on a breakaway, but his shot at the open goal was deflected by Al Wasl defender Yaser Hassan Dhanhani.

    It was the last match for Saipa's Iranian legendary coach Ali Daei, who will take over as Iran's national team coach.

    "I could not have asked for more from the boys. We were without five or six of our regular starters. It has been a long season for us," Daei said.

    Al-Ansar's Ahmed Al-Khoor,left,  clear the ball
    against Al-Muharraq [AFP]
    In Kuwait City, Yasser Abdul-Mohsen scored three minutes after the second-half kickoff and Al Quwa Al Jawiya beat Al Kuwait 2-1 to finish both teams' Asian Champions League campaigns.

    Mohammed Hannoun nearly added insurance in the 84th, but the goal was voided for offside.

    The result finished the Iraqi side with eight points, in second place four points behind Group B winner Saipa of Iran.

    Al Kuwait was last in the group with five points.

    Haitham Kathem gave Al Quwa Al Jawiya the lead in the 17th minute before Khaled Ajab equalised four minutes later.

    With the game meaningless, the game was played before a sparse crowd at the Kuwait Sports Club.

    Iraq's Arbil claim second victory

    In Zarqa, Jordan Luay Salah scored three times in the second half and rallied Arbil for a 4-2 victory against Kuwait's Al Qadsia, completing the Iraqi club's Asian Champions League campaign with a second win.

    Arbil finished third in Group D with eight points, three behind Al Qadsia, which already had clinched the group title and a berth in the quarterfinals.

    Sadoun Hameed gave Al Qadsia the lead with a 22-meter free kick in the 22nd minute and Ali Alkandari doubled the lead 12 minutes later.

    Salah pulled Arbil within a goal in the 52nd, and after Al Qadsia midfielder Mladen Jovanclc was sent off with his second yellow three minutes later, Salah added goals in the 71st and 79th to secure the victory.

    Ahmad Mntafjai completed the scoring with a free kick in the 89th minute.

    The game was held at the Prince Mohammed Stadium in Zarqa, an industrial city northeast of the Jordanian capital Amman.

    Sepahan bow out

    Finally in Tehran, Iran Sepahan drew with Kuruvchi 1-1 in Group A with both teams resting regular starters.

    Host Sepahan, last year's runnerup, went ahead in the second minute after a shot from outside the area by Jalaleddin Alimohammadi.

    Anvarjon Soliev equalised for the Uzbekistan team with a close-range header in the 71st.

    Sepahan had more scoring chances but could not beat Kuruvchi goalkeeper Murotjon Zukhurov for the winner.

    Kuruvchi has already advanced to the quarterfinals and Sepahan was eliminated from the tournament earlier this month.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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